The Insight Bowl is an opportunity to lay a foundation for spring drills. Stills, Reynolds and Trey Franks — all sophomores — and freshman Kameel Jackson are projected to be OU's top receivers next season.
“The young guys have to keep pushing to get better, play at a level for us to be successful,” Heupel said. “That's why you grind it out day in and day out.”
Franks will have a larger role Friday night. Like Stills, Franks was an impact player as a freshman. Franks, though, was a non-factor much of the season (two catches over an eight-game stretch) before re-emerging after Broyles' injury.
Senior Dejuan Miller was inserted back into the starting lineup after Broyles' was sidelined. But after he dropped two passes against Oklahoma State, Miller was replaced by Jackson, who has impressed coaches dating back to fall camp.
Jackson could start the Insight Bowl. He's had two drops but has nine receptions in limited action.
“He's made some competitive plays,” Heupel said. “In the Oklahoma State game he made a great play on the sidelines. He just needs to be consistent and practice in a better manner.”
Stills, though, is the receiver who can be OU's difference maker next season.
How did Stills grade himself his sophomore year?
“Average,” Stills said. “I want to be the guy Ryan was, an automatic player who automatically made catches all the time. That's who I'm looking to be, not really Ryan, but be the guy who catches the ball all the time... I want to really step up in this bowl game.”